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Strawberries Or Strawberries?
Strawberries Or Strawberries?

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How to correctly name cultivated large-fruited varieties of berry plants

Strawberries. Variety Beauty
Strawberries. Variety Beauty

It is known that the strawberry belongs to the genus Strawberry (Fragaria L.), the Rosacea family (Rosacea B. Juss), which arose in the Tertiary period and is represented by the cultivated species Fragaria ananassa Duch (F. Grandiflora Ehrh) - pineapple strawberry or large-fruited garden and numerous wild species.

The exact number of wild species has not been established and, according to various authors, ranges from 11 to 100. A number of authors identified 44 species, and recently most researchers are inclined to reduce the number of wild species to 11 or 16. Wild strawberry species are widespread in Eurasia and America. The culture has captured for its habitation extremely diverse, sometimes sharply contrasting climate zones of the globe. Some species have penetrated the tundra of America (Alaska, Canada), the tropics and mountainous regions of Eurasia. Some species are found in the Himalayas, India, Japan, Sakhalin and the Kuriles.

There are 7 wild strawberry species growing in Russia: wild strawberry, green strawberry (hilly) or half-strawberry; oriental strawberry (Asian forest strawberry); European strawberries (nutmeg strawberries); plain strawberries; Bukhara strawberries, Sakhalin strawberries. In European countries, as in Russia, monks have cultivated wild strawberry species in their gardens since the 14th century, especially wild strawberry, which they transferred from the forest and used as a cultivated plant.

After about two centuries, wild European strawberries were introduced into the culture, the fruits of which were somewhat larger than those of small-fruited wild strawberries. But since these species crossed with each other with great difficulty, and when crossed, they usually gave sterile offspring, then over a rather long period there was no significant shift in the increase in the size of berries and yield.

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How did large-fruited garden strawberry appear?

Later, information appeared about two more wild American species of strawberries - Virginian and Chilean, from the crossing of which, as is commonly believed, a variety of varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries occurred.

The first information about the culture and varieties of Virginia strawberries dates back to the first half of the 17th century. Chilean strawberries began to be cultivated somewhat later. The development of the culture of American strawberry species took place almost simultaneously in Europe and America, and their introduction into the culture, especially the Chilean strawberry, served as an impetus for the rapid development of large-fruited garden strawberries. Already in the middle of the 18th century, the first information about varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries appeared - hybrids between Chilean and Virginian strawberries, which hybridize well with each other. For the first time a description of such hybrids was given by the French botanist Duchenne in 1776, giving the name to this species - pineapple strawberry, and in 1792 the botanist Earhart, when describing these hybrids, gave them another name - large-fruited garden strawberry.

The modern assortment of large-fruited garden strawberries, already numbering about 3000 varieties, is mostly the result of inter-varietal crosses and clonal selection within the large-fruited garden strawberry species.

Large-fruited garden strawberries are increasingly called strawberries not only in everyday life, but, unfortunately, also in the media, and only a widespread wild-growing species of wild strawberries are referred to the name of strawberries.

As mentioned above, botanically, these plants belong to different species of the genus of strawberries, although they have some similarity in structure. Long before the appearance of varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries - another less common wild-growing species of strawberries - strawberries got their name from the word "club", "ball" for rounded spherical berries that were larger than other wild species, especially wild strawberries.

Therefore, when varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries appeared in Russia from Western Europe, especially those with rounded berries, they began to be called strawberries by analogy.

And even later, large-fruited garden strawberries were called "Victoria". This name is associated with the English Victoria variety, brought to Russia in the 70s of the XIX century. Then, in the absence of domestic varieties, foreign ones were grown, the names of which were difficult and incomprehensible for the majority of the population of Russia (Deutsch Evern, Chudo Ketena, Sharpless, Noble Laxton and many others).

Therefore, the simple-sounding name of the Victoria variety easily entered everyday use, generalizing all varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries.

About strawberries

Wild strawberries are less common than wild strawberries. Strawberry differs from all existing types of strawberries mainly in the structure of the flower: strawberries always have bisexual flowers, and strawberries are predominantly unisexual, i.e. is a dioecious plant: on some bushes there are only female flowers (pistillate), and on others - male (staminate) flowers, which are much larger than female ones and have underdeveloped pistils. In this regard, it must be borne in mind that when planting strawberries on 10 female plants, 1-2 male plants should be planted. Strawberry plants are tall - 15-30 cm, have a well-leafy bush with densely pubescent light green strongly wrinkled leaves, with thick erect peduncles, heavily pubescent, multi-flowered, always located above the level of the leaves.

Strawberries are somewhat larger than those of small-fruited wild strawberries - up to 2 g, oblong-conical, sometimes oval, lilac-green, fresh-sweet, with a specific musky aroma. The yield of wild strawberries is higher than that of wild strawberries.

Cultivation of cultivated varieties of strawberries began somewhat later than wild strawberries. Its few varieties originated from wild-growing strawberries and are similar to each other. The most common varieties are only two - Shpanka and Milanese.

Varietal plants are tall, the bush is compact, densely leafy, the leaves are wrinkled, light green, the peduncles are erect, thick, pubescent, they are above the level of the leaves.

Berries of varietal strawberries are much smaller than those of large-fruited varietal strawberries, have an average weight of 3-5 g, oblong-conical or oval, red or red-violet with a pronounced neck. The pulp is white or yellowish, loose, sweet with a strong nutmeg aroma. The yield is much lower than that of large-fruited garden strawberries.

The dioeciousness of strawberry plants significantly complicates its cultivation, therefore strawberries are grown mainly in personal plots.

For a long time, the crossing of large-fruited garden strawberries and strawberries with each other failed due to the different number of chromosomes: 42 in strawberries and 56 in strawberries. And although individual reports of successful experiments in various countries appeared at the beginning of the 20th century, the resulting hybrids were either sterile or gave sterile offspring.

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About earthworm

In Russia in the 30s of the last century N. Ya. Smolyaninova (Moscow Fruit and Vegetable Experimental Station) received the first fruit strawberry-strawberry hybrid (ZKG) - No. 3. Its plants bloomed profusely, but not all flowers were tied with berries. A real breakthrough in this direction succeeded only in the 70s with the advent of super mutants.

G.S. Kantor (VSTISP, Moscow) treated them with hybrids by crossing varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries with strawberries of the Milanskaya variety, then influenced their offspring with colchicine and received a large number of hybrids. The following varieties were selected from them: Diana, Strawnichnaya, Muscat Biryulevskaya, Nadezhda Zagoria, Penelope, Raisa, Report, Candied Muscat. This is how a new species of plants appeared - strawberry-strawberry hybrids, which received the name of the earthworm (derived from two species).

From strawberries, strawberry-strawberry hybrids inherited the dessert taste of berries with a specific musky aroma, high winter hardiness, resistance to diseases and pests, but most of them have smaller berries and have an unripe greenish tip, but they are larger than strawberries. If in the latter the weight rarely exceeds 5 g, then in the landowner it ranges from 6 to 10 g. But in the varieties Nadezhda Zagorya and Raisa, individual berries even reach 30 g.

The big drawback of all varieties of the dwarf is their susceptibility to stem nematode and ultra-high shoot-forming ability - excessive growth of whiskers and rosettes that fill the entire plantation, clogging more valuable strawberry varieties if they are planted in the same area. Therefore, when growing earthworms, it is recommended to plant it in a separate area.

Breeding work with the dugout is currently continued by the breeder S.D. Aytzhanov at the Kokinsky support point of VSTISP. She has obtained a number of selected forms that have retained many of the advantages of the varieties of the earthworm, but by the size of the berries and their uniformity, they are close to the varieties of large-fruited garden strawberries. In the near future, some of them will become varieties of a new species - earthworms.

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